According to the National Resources Defense Council’s most recent comprehensive assessment of the health of Connecticut’s beaches, 81% of beach closings in 2009 were attributable to stormwater runoff.
Runoff comes from rooftops and paved surfaces. This is an issue we know how to address: build smaller parking lots and add green roofs, rain gardens, vegetated swales, and retention basins to filter out pollutants from the runoff and “attenuate” spikes in runoff created by heavy rains. Unfortunately, there currently exists no city agency to encourage this, no zoning ordinances to mandate it, nor any fee to discourage large parking lots.
City Hall has proposed exactly such a solution, but it has been met with stiff opposition from the Board of Aldermen. They see the idea of taxing large parking lots as ludicrous and have cast it as a tax on rain. At the last Board of Aldermen meeting, they came within less than two votes of killing the proposed stormwater authority on the spot. We cannot let this happen.
Thursday after next, the 17th of March, at 6PM in the Aldermanic Chambers, the Committee of the Whole will continue its public hearing on the proposed stormwater authority and fee on impervious surfaces. We need to make it clear that continuing to ignore the main contributor to pollution in the Long Island Sound is not an option. Please RSVP if you can make it to the hearing.